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AMBIENT MARKETING is an underutilized form of guerrilla marketing that aims to catch the attention of prospective customers in nontraditional locations, where and when they are most open to considering your products or services.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of ambient marketing is identifying nontraditional locations. After all, what’s nontraditional today could be mainstream tomorrow. That’s why this style of guerrilla marketing is underutilized. It requires a brand to regularly reinvent its marketing strategies. The most successful ambient campaigns are often in pervasive and ubiquitous environments, stopping the public in its tracks, and creating a lasting impression they feel compelled to share with others.

For example, Spar Restaurant in Mumbai deployed an ambient strategy to promote its seafood festival. The restaurant scattered realistic-looking, oversized plastic clamshells on the local beach. Consumers engaged with the campaign by opening the shells, finding a flier promoting the restaurant’s seafood festival inside.

The campaign used an unexpected location, creatively engaged consumers and formed a memorable impression. Most importantly, the restaurant spoke to consumers at a time when they were likely most receptive to seafood, which is the real secret to ambient marketing. The more you can involve your audience, the better.

The more unusual the campaign, the more time the average consumer is willing to spend engaging with that campaign. Once consumers have invested that time to understand it, their openness to consider your products or services and tell others about their experience increases exponentially.

How consumers discover your campaign also impacts its effectiveness. When they feel like they’ve stumbled across it themselves, they are more likely to feel connected to your brand and tell others. The American Red Cross launched a brilliantly simple ambient marketing campaign to encourage large numbers of new donors to make small donations — pocket change, in fact. The challenge was in determining how to best solicit people for their spare pocket change, ideally at a time when it’s actually in their hands.

Since the typical donations box you see next to retail checkout stands across America are highly expected and easy to ignore, the Red Cross thought about the fact that travelers have their change out when passing through airport security. In partnership with an airport authority, the organization replaced the nondescript gray bins with brightly colored Red Cross branded versions featuring two compartments: a large section for the traveler’s personal belongings and a smaller slot labeled, “Your change is welcome here. Donate it.”

It was an easy request that didn’t require travelers to think too hard before making a donation. The campaign was engaging, and the donation process was simple. Most importantly, the Red Cross targeted travelers at a time when they’re already thinking about their pocket change.

In a marketplace where your prospective customers are flooded with more messages than they can possibly digest, connecting with your customers in their own backyards can pay big dividends.


This blog was written by RedRover’s CEO & Founder, Lori Turner-Wilson. 

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RedRover Sales & Marketing

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